7 items from 2017
It’s a new week, and nestled in another dumpster-load of content destined for the garbage pile that is the growing video-on-demand market comes Stephen C. Miller’s Southern action thriller Arsenal. The first of two movies Miller has due for release in 2017, which incidentally will be his fifth since 2015 (in case you needed an idea of the patient love and care the director brings to his projects), Arsenal is incoherent, thin on ideas original or otherwise and, despite its brisk 92-minute running time, a curious slog. Even by the now shockingly low standards of Nicolas Cage, lo-rent crap extraordinaire, Arsenal is bad – a product of totally incompetent filmmaking that will, as you drift, have you pondering how the money it cost to make could have better served humanity.
Biloxi, Mississippi provides Arsenal‘s setting, the location adding an unavoidably muggy atmosphere that’s perfect for the pulpy material but »
- Brogan Morris
Directed by Steven C. Miller.
A Southern mobster attempts to rescue his kidnapped brother.
Is there a better way to ring in a new year of movies with some more material to add to the Nicolas Cage ‘Losing His S*** Montage’? The answer is no, and Cage is certainly… colorful in Arsenal. He plays Eddie King, rocking the most ridiculous haircut I have seen since the last movie where Cage looked completely absurd (which is like, last year) and is apparently the closest thing to a mobster in Mississippi. There’s a scene where he murders a guy, writes a letter about it, and then reads said letter to a hostage, at one point shouting something about “Riding A F****** Bus”.
If you’re reading this review and thinking I’m here just to beat a dead horse »
- Robert Kojder
“Arsenal,” a pulpy crime drama about desperate characters and excessive carnage in Biloxi, Miss., is memorable primarily for some random scraps of loopy dialogue, the credible evocation of a sleazy demimonde rife with white-trash lawbreakers, and yet another Nicolas Cage performance that could be labeled Swift’s Premium and sold by the pound. Decked out in a putty nose, a bad wig, and a fake mustache that resembles an exhausted caterpillar, Cage plays a mood-swinging, coke-addled crime boss with the same manic gusto that lately has distinguished his work in scads of other easy-paycheck misadventures. (You could argue that, at this point, he is to 21st-century VOD fare what Wings Hauser was to ’80s direct-to-video quickies.) And while his over-the-top shtick is perilously nearing the end of its shelf life, Cage routinely dominates each film in which he appears, even when, as happens here, he is off screen for extended periods. »
- Joe Leydon
As a piece of filmmaking and storytelling, Arsenal is, at its best, marginally competent in the way that a basic-cable crime procedural might be. It attempts grindhouse-level bloodiness that is excessive enough to expose the effort but also not quite excessive enough to bring the gore hounds running. At its worst, the film makes it clear just how low it’s aiming and how lacking in ambition it is. Rather than striving to come up with anything new—or at the very least innovative—it contents itself with wading through a sea of hackneyed tropes. The characters’ arsenals may be jam-packed with things that zing and explode, but the movie’s own is frustratingly empty.
Mercifully, only a narrow swath of clichés make it into the film’s main plot — a man named Jp (Adrian Grenier) must pull together $350,000 to save his criminal of an older brother Mikey (Johnathan Schaech »
- The Film Stage
For a short while as its story begins to unfold, Arsenal seems like it might represent a tug of war between a gritty indie drama and a shamelessly pointless Dtv programmer. It also seems like it might somehow explain what its title means in the context of this movie—it’s not about soccer fans, and while it does feature guns, the characters don’t seem to have access to an arsenal’s worth. But by its bloody end, both of those hopes remain far out of reach.
There are ever-so-slight notes of Southern indie filmmakers like David Gordon Green or Jeff Nichols as Arsenal begins with two young brothers in Biloxi, Mississippi (playing itself—a credit to a movie that might well have outsourced the job to Louisiana). Mikey (Zachary Legendre) is sometimes mean to J.P. (Kelton DuMont), but his big-brother cruelty often gives way to protective instincts »
- Jesse Hassenger
Welcome back to the first Weekend Warrior of 2017, your weekly look at the new movies hitting theaters this weekend, as well as other cool events and things to check out (when applicable).
We’ll bypass the past couple holiday weekends cause that was so 2016, and we’ll instead get right into the new movies opening on Friday including two that opened in select cities and are expanding nationwide.
Genre: Action, Horror, Thriller
Plot: The vampire death dealer Selene (Kate Beckinsale) finds herself facing both Lycans and vampires, both of them trying to use the blood of her daughter to create new hybrids, so she and David (Theo James »
- Edward Douglas
3 January 2017 6:00 AM, PST | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »
While deploying an action-pulp armory of slo-mo slaughter and hard-slamming brutality, the crime thriller Arsenal also taps into primal matters of brotherly loyalty and betrayal. The brothers — one straight-arrow, one ne’er-do-well — are played by Adrian Grenier and Johnathon Schaech, digging into two-dimensional roles with conviction. The key attraction, though, if you find sadistic maniacs entertaining, is Nicolas Cage in full-throttle wacko regalia.
Director Steven C. Miller shot Arsenal in two weeks. With a cast that also includes John Cusack and Cage’s real-life brother, Christopher Coppola, the key takeaway is that some screen vets welcome the opportunity to dip into »
- Sheri Linden
7 items from 2017
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